Approved by: The President
History: Issued              -- August 11, 2008
Revised            -- August 22, 2013
Last Reviewed -- July 1, 2022
Related Policies: Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Policy; Disability Accommodations for Students Policy; Accommodations at University Events Policy
Additional References: National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Code of Professional Conduct

Policy Owner:

Contact Person:

Vice President for Student Affairs, tel. (202) 319-5619

Director of Disability Support Services, tel. (202) 319-5211

I. Introduction


In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504), The Catholic University of America provides interpreter services for persons who are deaf or hard of hearing. The Office of Disability Support Services (DSS) coordinates interpreter services for students for academic related activities and for special events.

II. Definitions


A. Deaf. Deafness generally refers to a physical condition characterized by lack of sensitivity to sound. Notated as deaf with a lowercase d, this refers to the audiological experience of someone who is partially or wholly lacking hearing. In legal terms, deafness is defined by degree of hearing loss. These degrees include profound or total deafness (90 dB - 120 dB or more of hearing loss), severe deafness (60 dB - 90 dB of hearing loss), moderate deafness (30 dB - 60 dB of hearing loss), and mild deafness (10 dB - 30 dB of hearing loss).

B. Hard of Hearing. Both severe and moderate deafness can be referred to as partial deafness or as hard of hearing, while mild deafness is usually referred to as hard of hearing. C. Interpreter: An Interpreter generally uses sign language to facilitate communication between a person who is hearing and a person who is deaf or hard of hearing.

D. Transcriber. Transcribers use either meaning-for-meaning software or word-for-word software to facilitate communication through a computer between a person who is hearing and a person who is deaf.

E. Sign Language. Sign Language is a language which uses manual communication, body language and lip patterns instead of sound to convey meaning-simultaneously combining hand shapes, orientation and movement of the hands, arms or body, and facial expressions to express fluidly a speaker's thoughts.

III. Academic Accommodations for Students


Disability Support Services coordinates interpreter services for registered students with disabilities for the following: a. Academic for credit requests (i.e. classroom lectures, out-of-class assignments, study groups, faculty office hours) b. Student meetings with faculty and staff c. Student organization meetings and sponsored events d. Academic advising and other meetings with University faculty and staff. e. Other situations as determined on a case-by-case basis. Requests for interpreters should be made as early as possible, and generally no later than 5 business days before an event. Students should work directly with DSS to request interpreter services.

IV. Programs and Events


DSS provides interpreter services for major University events including Orientation Mass, Freshmen Convocation and Commencement ceremonies when requested by staff, students, or guests. University departments planning programs or events are responsible for following the Disability Accommodations for Students Policy, and for budgeting for interpreter costs for events that are geared toward an external audience such as lectures, forums, workshops and any revenue generating event. University departments planning such programs or events should contact DSS well in advance for support in the provision of interpreter services.

V. Interpreter Conduct


All interpreters must follow the National Association of the Deaf (NAD) Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) Code of Professional Conduct, as well as to comply with all DSS and University standards and policies.

VI. Grievances


Anyone who has an issue or concern with regard to an interpreter should report the issue or concern directly to DSS. Every reasonable effort will be made to resolve the situation fairly and expeditiously.